A looker indeed
The model that arrived at the Autodealer office was the top spec Titanium. For starters, the new Kuga comes across as more of a radical facelift. It features a more modern and muscular design which I do quite like. The trapezoidal grille is more prominent than before and has been designed to mirror those of other SUVs in the Ford line-up.
It has also been fitted with new bumpers and lights which feature the must-have daytime running LEDs at the front. A more prominently creased bonnet, new rear lights, a redesigned tailgate and sporty looking 19-inch alloy wheels complete the overall design appeal.
Much improved inside
Whereas the previous Kuga was known for having a very busy dashboard, especially in the audio department, this new model now gets Ford’s latest SYNC 3 infotainment system which includes touchscreen functionality as well as navigation. This means that there are now only a few, easy to use buttons on the dashboard. The system is also Apple CarPlay compatible via USB, which just makes connectivity a whole lot simpler.
The design of the dash and instrument cluster looks near identical to the model it replaces, and thus it remains functional. It is also, for the most part, made up of good quality plastics. There is also a lot of storage spaces, which is key when considering the Kuga for practical reasons.
As practical as ever
Practicality meanwhile remains a Kuga trademark. Rear passengers can expect ample head and leg room and thanks to the almost flat floor, you can get three people in, which I managed to do without any complaints. The rear seats also recline for added comfort. If you prefer to put items in the boot, the Kuga fails to disappoint with a total luggage space of 1 603-litres with the rear seats folded down.
It has the go
As for the powerplant, my tester came fitted with the long serving 2.0 TDCi engine that produces 132kW/400Nm, and comes mated to a six-speed Powershift automatic gearbox with drive going to all four wheels. In short, this is the model to have. While certainly not the fastest, the powertrain is by no means lazy and there is enough grunt to pull everything from a caravan to a trailer.
On the move, the Kuga performed admirably over my time with it. Granted, the low profile tyres did tend to expose bumps in the road a bit more than usual, however, they look so good it’s a slight inconvenience I’m willing to live with. The cabin is also quiet and the Sony sound system is a great nice-to-have.
Despite the previous issues with the Kuga, this new model is definitely set to right the wrong. It remains a quality product with a host of standard kit and an impressive motor. Unfortunately, the competition is tough within this segment and so too is pricing. Yet, when shopping for a SUV of this type, the Kuga should without a doubt, be on your list.
Kuga 2.0 TDCi Titanium Powershift AWD: R506 900